Dahlias - How to Grow and Care for Dahlias
Dahlias - Facts and pictures
Dahlia flowers are stunning and are generally show stoppers in any garden. It is known that there are at least about 270,000 varieties of Dahlias that are available today. Dahlias make wonderful cut flowers and gifts, but your gift could be more long lasting if presented as a potted plant. These hardy plants are non fussy and can be grown in any kind of soil. These tuberous plants are easy to care for and come in a variety of exotic colors and shapes. Dahlias can be grown from seeds as well as tubers, though I would consider it a safe bet to grow them from the tubers. These are annuals and will last from late spring to summer.
How to Grow Dahlias
Any garden soil is good enough for dahlias. Add a little bit of fertilizer low in nitrogen into a pot of loam, moss and sand and you could grow dazzling dahlias that can be put the rest of your garden in the shade. Once the dahlias start blooming even orchids have to take the second place. Dahlias need plenty of sunshine, at least about five to six hours of sunshine. Plant the tubers in the sunniest part of your garden. Here in the tropics they bloom twice year.
When to Plant Your Dahlias
The Dahlia flower is the photographers delight. The textures and the rich colors make even the ordinary lens men and women like me look like specialists. Dahlias can be potted in mid spring. The tubers should not be buried too deep in the soil, it would be sufficient to have them planted in holes that are six inches deep and covered lightly with loam and peat moss. These plants are suitable for small spaces as well as they can be grown in pots. If you grow them in your garden make sure you space the tubers well, give 12 - 18 inches between each plant.
Fun Fact about Dahlias
Did you know that dahlias are edible? Yes they are, a fact that many people are not aware of. However, I personally think that the ornamental value of the flower far out weighs the food value of the flower
Another fun fact about Dahlias - Dahlia tubers were first used in the treatment of Diabetes. Did you know that?
Some dahlias grow quite tall and need to be supported with stakes, make sure that the stakes are a good six inches away from the plant so that you do not hurt the tuber. Pinching of the head of the plant allows new shoots and buds to form. For gardeners who have space restrictions the dwarf dahlias are a boon. These dwarfs are also suitable to be grown in large clumps and borders.
Tip and Tricks
Dahlias can be made to bloom all through the season by cutting off the dried flower heads and allowing the plant to branch out further. Watering them frequently not allowing the soil to dry out too much between watering, helps the dahlia plants to thrive. These stunning flowers are sure to brighten up your garden, and homes. When you harvest the flowers make sure you cut close to the leaf joint, cutting above the leaf joint encourages fresh growth and flowering.
Feeding of Dahlia Plants and Preserving the Tubers
The stunning colors and textures of dahlias makes them the delight of gardeners. Periodic feeding of fertilizer high in potassium ensures healthy blooms throughout the season. Dead heading also help get more blooms.
The tubers could be dug up and preserved for the next season when the plant blackens and fades after the flowering season is over. Clean the tubers, dry them in a warm shady place (never directly under the sun) and store them with peat moss in perforated containers or bags during the long winter months. In tropical climates you could just leave them in the ground and they will spring back again in the next growing season.
Growing dahlias can be an easy and satisfying experience. If you want a huge bloom pinch away the side shoots and buds allowing only a few huge blooms to develop. This way you will have a huge, even a dinner plate sized dahlia in your garden. These showy blooms are sure to turn heads towards your garden and become great conversation starters.
Making Flowers Last
After cutting Dahlia flowers for arrangement you can make your dahlias last longer by placing the stems in a jar of hot water. Make sure you have at least two inches of the flower stalk in the water, not any more than that. Allow the water to come to room temperature in a non heated place before you arrange them. The immersed part of the stems look a little browned out, but the flowers last for almost a week and stay as gorgeous as ever in vase.
These flowers bloom into the early autumn season, much long after your other blooms have faded. They will soon become your joy and your pride. Even if you are not a great gardener you will soon be looking forward to the season to take out the tubers and to get them growing in your garden. Happy dahlia days to you :)
Dahlias in Your Garden
Do you think you could grow dahlias in your garden?
You can buy every imaginable color and shape of dahlias as you like. If you do not have the patience to grow dahlias from the seeds or tubers get flowering plants from the nurseries to inspire you. My mornings are made beautiful by these flowers that color and brighten my day. I hope you are inspired enough to get them into your garden this season.
© 2011 Sophie